When liquor giant Distell spent close on R 400 million to purchase Bisquit I thought it was a brave move in a tight economy. It’s not easy breaking in to the top end of a market here with a new product – albeit with a 200 year history – I was curious to see what they had planned.
Sometimes media launches work, sometimes they don’t. Many things can go wrong – the product and the environment don’t match; the product is over-hyped but does not follow through on quality; or too much glamour, too little substance.
Not this time. Attendees toured sun-filled rooms where the heritage (did you know that the founder of Bisquit was one of the first people to sell spirits by the bottle, not by the cask?) and production were explained by enthusiastic and knowledgeable brand and marketing managers. Nose extraordinaire and international spirits judge Johan Venter, the Distell Group director of production conducted the formal tasting. The canapés were classy and the music set the right mood. What about the drinks?
Occasionally we find a standout premium spirit. Singleton Single Malt whisky and Patron Café Tequila are examples of winners – products that taste great and sell very well.
I think Bisquit Cognac is a winner. Firstly, it tastes very good. That’s the most important to me. Forget the fancy packaging and media hype. The Cognacs I tasted were drinks that I would go out and buy, to drink. Not to sit on a shelf and look pretty, but to enjoy. No amount of marketing can make up for a product that consumers don’t enjoy. And this is something consumers will enjoy, a great deal. There was a wonderful look of anticipation on the faces of the media people as the tasting glasses of the VS Classique and VSOP Fine Champagne entered the room and the rich apricot aroma filled the air. And after the tasting the glasses were empty. That’s always a good sign.
Thankfully Cognac is no longer the preserve of old men with big bellies who fall asleep after lunch. Seemingly to reinforce Distell’s apparent aim of introducing the Classique Cognac to a younger target market, the Classique was served as the welcome drink in a cocktail – with lime, lemon, lemonade and a slice of cucumber. It will be interesting to see what cocktails our top mixologists can come up with. There’s a thought, Distell. You have a great product that good bartenders would love working with. I see a competition coming up…
The VSOP Fine Champagne is incredible. It rivals single malt whiskies with its complexity and depth of flavour. It overtakes some single malts with the intensity of the rich fruits. I think it is perfect on its own or with a splash of chilled water.
Distell have a serious approach to their investment and are planning to make major inroads into a South African Cognac market previously dominated by Hennessey, Remy Martin, Courvoisier & Martell. Is there room for Cognac Bisquit? Definitely. Lovers of premium spirits will do well to add this to their liquor cabinets.
Drink less, but drink better.
For any questions about sales, distribution etc please call LEE-ANNE LOTZ, BRAND MANAGER (021) 809 7000 OR 083 331 1936 and for PR info call TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC (021) 422 2690